christmas kermit

The Valley Under Christmas

You float like a feather
In a beautiful world

Sometimes, when I want to figure out when I started to become depressed, all it takes is a quick look back at how long it’s been since I posted a journal entry. (Not wrote one. I wrote four that I didn't post until later, in the Google Doc where I always write posts now, since LJ isn't reliable and has weird formatting issues. Also the persistent inner narrative that they weren't good enough or were too negative or that people wouldn't like me...) In this case, it’s a little longer even than that. It’s been a fight for about two months since I got hit with some big news, lost a friend, lost a business, lost perspective, lost joy.

Then there were glimmers of golden light of Christmas and I thought I’d made it, even though the light kept getting dimmer and the grey sky kept fading to black before I’d really made the effort to see the canopy of light, dim as it was. The snow didn’t fall until tonight, the blanket to insulate the world.

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control

I want a perfect body

I want a perfect soul

I was just starting to listen to Christmas music and enjoy the season when depression hit me with a vengeance. I might as well just be straight-up honest about it. It’s been brutal.

I have been able on several occasions to get my head up above water long enough to take a breath, but having even a modest workload of things I need to finish before Paul’s nice long Christmas vacation has been a difficulty.

In moments like this, a several hour period of complete clarity and normalcy, brought on no doubt by the fact that today is the first day I started taking my medication again, I am running at a near manic pace, attempting to communicate with friends, make personal plans, converse with our AirBnB guests, and do all the bits and pieces of work for Admire that feel so monumental when I am under the weight of the depression bog.

Starting a new one

Every new one hits her

Just the same

I saw a little video recently of some men diving into a hole in a boggy area, where the lake underneath it was deep, but the bog only had one little hole where you could get in or out, and it was almost like the men were diving into another world, and showing up nowhere. There are moments when depression feels like that for me.

This time, it didn’t so much creep as slam into me hard over the course of a few weeks. I often experience depression as a haze, a heaviness, and many days I experience it without any discernable emotions other than apathy. I don’t really want to do or engage with anything beyond the odd piece of entertainment. Food becomes at best my crutch and at worst, my only focus.

I wavered between wanting motivation or wanting nothing. I experienced several bouts of insomnia involving staring blankly at the ceiling feeling and thinking almost nothing for over an hour, and when thoughts did come, they were often the sort of thoughts one wishes would not come at all. Such thoughts are bad houseguests, whirling about and unnecessarily disturbing all the things that live in their proper places.

She's underwater

But she won't drown

She can't believe it

And everyone she meets

Feels just the same

Clinically, this particular depression was heavy in a few areas, but typical to bouts I’ve had before in that some of the issues are easy to miss and others are blatant. Forgetfulness, being constantly on the edge of tears and crying easily, lack of interest in things pleasurable, needing twelve hours of sleep at a time but not being able to sleep when you lie down, extreme lack of energy to the point where at one point chopping about ten vegetables was the most I was able to do in a day other than move from one room to the other, and physical pain - back pain, headaches, stiff neck and upper back from anxiety. Irritability and anger have made several appearances.

The irony of depression is that the very thing that is required is to do things to take care of yourself which you have no desire to do, tasks that you have no energy to perform. Without the desire or the action, little can be accomplished of any sort. Manufactured desire and energy is of limited supply.

During this time, I edited a wedding in about fifteen days doing as much work as I could on it every time I could do anything. My average wedding edit takes about 4-6 hours in a single day, for reference. I shot about four sessions, all 2-4 hours. I had to be immensely careful and extremely focused on being focused to do a good job, but I managed them all. They felt, and still feel, like a massive amount of work. In reality, however, previous healthy incarnations of myself could have handled all of them, almost 6 weeks in my reality now, in less than a normal work week.

It is absolute torture to make phonecalls. I actually lost a reasonably lucrative contract because I didn’t return a call within a few hours. I actually got the message within ten minutes. I just couldn’t dial or talk about work. It was too much. I was too tired. Everything was too much.

Then there’s the days where I have enough energy to do things. I went out during the last PokemonGo event to play with Paul in the car at a good spot nearby that I hadn’t had the chance to bring him to yet. It was fun. I needed the fun. But it was also exhausting. Playing a game while sitting in a car less than ten minutes from my house was exhausting because I was driving and that takes focus.

I tried going to a Christmas festival with friends, but hadn’t eaten properly, so after feeling weak and having to separate from the group to sit half a dozen times, I felt frustrated with myself and a little upset about the commercialism of the event. I managed to enjoy a few things, but it was difficult.

Like the majority of things I started during this period in my life, this post remains unfinished. Fitting, really.